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My dog has started attacking my cat!

NaeblissNaebliss Registered User regular
edited May 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
We have had our cat Jazzy for 15 years. She outlived our last dog and they never had any problems. Two years ago we bought two american eskimo's after our old dogs death. They were little puppies and got along with Jazzy fine, but recently they have started attacking her viciously. Today I was sitting on the couch with Jazzy in my lap when i turned her over to see if this bump I was feeling was a tick or something. She hates being touched on her belly so she hissed at me. Immediately the lead dog leaped at her, grabbed her and started yanking. We rescued her, but only after they had traumatized her. This is the worst of the attacks I have seen, but it has become more and more frequent. I don't understand what has changed, they were so good together for years. What should I do H/A?

Naebliss on
This couch is the comfiest!
Street Fighter 4 (pc): sdurien
Steam: Jon http://steamcommunity.com//profiles/76561197970923897/home

Posts

  • Phoenix-DPhoenix-D Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    That almost sounds like they were being defensive. Do they go after her when she hisses or claws at people, or when she's playing with people?

  • NaeblissNaebliss Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    They do tend to go after her when she is with people, but there have been incidents when she was in another room by herself, although they have been far less frequent. I'm not sure if she was hissing during the other incidents.

    This couch is the comfiest!
    Street Fighter 4 (pc): sdurien
    Steam: Jon http://steamcommunity.com//profiles/76561197970923897/home
  • ihmmyihmmy Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    my cousin had an american eskimo, turns out it was far too inbred, had mental issues and ultimately had to be put down within a few months of them getting him because he would attack people during evening (when lighting was low, even if nearly all the household lights were on)... that breed can have some particularly nasty behaviours emerge as a result of inbreeding and such.

    Obviously that's not hte only possible answer, but it might be something to investigate further

  • squinutsquinut Registered User
    edited May 2008
    I'm not too sure but it could be dominance issues. Dogs as you know live in packs and when one pack member is threatened, they will band together to attack the aggressor. What you can do is to separate your dogs and cat immediately, it sounds like your dogs are pretty serious about this.

    If you chose to let them hang around each other you must be extra vigilant, watch for the body language, when your dogs suddenly tense up and stare at your cat (which is all the warning they are going to give you) immediately get their attention (by clapping or any sharp loud noise) and tell them "No" in a calm assertive voice. You must establish your role as leader, be calm and assertive when doing this, do not raise your voice in a shout as they will likely think of it as a battlecry and will attack your cat. You must ALWAYS be calm, when you lose your temper they will only become more aggressive.

    Never hit your dogs when they attack your cat, they will only become aggressive towards you. If they attack your cat immediately remove them from the area. If you have a spare room or enclosed space you can use as a 'prison', bring them there immediately the moment they show aggression. Do not agitate them, only when they are calm then you can let them out.

    These methods will only show results when you are consistent, do not ever let your dogs and cat near each other UNSUPERVISED! And if you do you must always watch your dogs for the sign that they are about to attack and stop them before they can or it'll become ingrained in them and bad habits are very hard to cure, especially aggression.

  • Bliss 101Bliss 101 Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Honestly, I would suggest separating the cat from the dogs for good.

    If this was a one dog vs one cat situation, I'd say try what squinut suggests. But you have two dogs reinforcing each others' pattern of aggression towards the cat. The cat is kind of old (is she declawed? because social relations can go horribly wrong between dogs and declawed cats, as the cat is basically defenseless) and at some point the dogs have decided that she's not part of the pack. I don't think that will ever change. You might be able to train them not to attack her, but they'll never see her as one of them so she'll always be in danger.

    MSL59.jpg
  • TrowizillaTrowizilla Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    This does sound like a dominance issue. Right now, your dogs see the hierarchy as you > them > the cat, or possibly even them > you, so when the cat hissed at you, it's up to them to enforce the hierarchy. First thing thing, you should probably crate-train your dogs so they're never, ever unsupervised around your cat.

    Second, you need to establish that your cat is higher up on the pecking order than the dogs. Get someone to hold both dogs, leashed, while you eat, and then while you put down the cat's food. Make the dogs sit and be calm while you do this, and only after that do you put their food down. Pet the cat before you pet the dogs, and make them stay calm on-leash when you do. squinut's suggestion of using another (preferably totally boring to a dog) room as a prison is a good one. When the dogs start acting aggressively toward the cat, remove them immediately and shut them in a room until they calm down.

    Basically you want them to understand that the pack order is you > the cat > them, and that the cat can get away with doing things that they can't.

  • fuelishfuelish Registered User
    edited May 2008
    Spitz and similar dogs (Like Huskies) have a high prey drive. They can go for years without showing signs of this because they do not see another pet as prey. However when they see weakness it can kick in, or if the pet is skittish and runs from them they will also pursue and attack. Our Husky sees one of our cats as prey, because she runs, but ignores the other cats that hang out. Your best (probably only) solution will be to keep the cat seperated from the dogs.

    Another day in the bike shop Pretty much what it sounds like. The secret lifestyle, laid open.
  • LadyMLadyM Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I would not trust the dogs alone with the cat again. Ever. They're a nordic breed, which means they do tend to have prey drive. (Which is not to say that some nordic dogs don't live happily with cats, but in this case the dogs have already attacked the cat.) Also, two dogs together will egg each other one, like someone else mentioned.

    How old are the dogs, out of curiosity?

  • NaeblissNaebliss Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    The dogs were very young when we got them. Probably around 4 weeks, so they are around two years old. The cat is declawed unfortunately, which I feel terribly guilty about and will never do to another cat for the rest of my days. The dogs are already crate trained since we have had them sleeping in a cage for their whole lives. I guess we will just have to keep a careful eye out when they are together. I will also try to make a point of feeding Jazzy before the dogs.

    Also pics for the cute inclined.
    Spoiler:

    This couch is the comfiest!
    Street Fighter 4 (pc): sdurien
    Steam: Jon http://steamcommunity.com//profiles/76561197970923897/home
  • AegeriAegeri Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Those are some lovely dogs.

  • SkyGheNeSkyGheNe Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Very cute animals. Normally I don't like cats, but that one has pretty colors.

    sig.jpg
  • fuelishfuelish Registered User
    edited May 2008
    Pretty cute and now I know where my old coffee table ended up.

    Another day in the bike shop Pretty much what it sounds like. The secret lifestyle, laid open.
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